NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The price of gold is about $1,700 an ounce, and that bring outs the hawkers — aggressive salesmen on West 47th Street who offer to buy your gold jewelry at incredible prices.
Local diamond and gold merchants say that the hawkers are in people’s faces, touting hard-to-believe prices and frightening them away. They either work for themselves or collect a commission to entice potential buyers to small shop owners in the Diamond District.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
One businessman with a large store believes that the hawkers have cost him a lot of money, as customers have gotten scared away.
“I believe that my business has dropped almost 50 percent,” he told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.
The NYPD has begun cracking down on the high-pressure salesmen, saying that they disrupt traffic and harass people.
“I work for commission,” one hawker, who was attempting to steer business to a small shop owner, told D’Auria. “They call me ‘hustle-man.’ I call it ‘appetizing,’ and you call it ‘hawking.’ There’s a difference between appetizing to buy gold and being a hawker.”
The Diamond District in Manhattan is a $24 billion-a-year wholesale and retail industry.
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